288 posts categorized in "Wildlife"

 

It’s that time of year again. Days are getting longer, plants are getting greener, and birds are getting louder. Some of this noise is welcome—who doesn’t like the dawn chorus of singing birds heralding the arrival of spring? But this performance is not limited to just the beautiful singers. They have a full percussion section backing them up, and as far as the percussionists are concerned, the louder they can play, the better.

The percussionists, of course, are woodpeckers. But despite their name, they will peck on pretty much anything that makes noise. The reverberations are intended to attract the attention of potential mates and intimidate potential rivals. The activity is called “drumming,” but when it is done on a metal surface, “hammering” may be a more accurate description. When a woodpecker drums on a chimney or vent cover, the sound resembles a jackhammer.

For several years in a row, a Red-breasted Sapsucker (a very small woodpecker species) on the PAWS campus has been using a metal streetlight cover as his sounding board. If you are standing under the pole when he is putting on his performance, the sound can be downright tooth-rattling.

Red-breasted sapsucker

The most common woodpeckers in Western Washington are the large Northern Flickers. On a recent morning walk, I heard two individuals of this species having a decibel duel. The birds were about two blocks apart, and each was perched on a metal chimney attached to a home. It was very early, but I doubt that anyone in the entire neighborhood was still asleep after the competition began.

Northern Flicker

Woodpeckers can be challenging neighbors at this time of year, but there are many ways to humanely address any conflicts that arise with these beautiful and interesting birds. If you find yourself being rattled awake by an enthusiastic drummer, I encourage you to visit the Woodpecker page on the PAWS website. It contains a wealth of information about woodpecker behavior, as well as information on common conflicts and their solutions.

Having a wildlife problem? PAWS can help

 

 

Question: When is the best time of year to trim or cut down trees in my yard?

Preserve wildlife habitats in your backyardThe Puget Sound region is home to a wide array of wildlife species, many of whom make their homes in the forests, and single trees in the region. Trees and forests provide critical habitat, cover and nesting sites to these many wild species, from cavity nesting owls, woodpeckers, and native squirrels, to bat dens in tree hollows and a multitude of birds whose amazing nests grace thick limbs and tiny branches alike.

February through September are the most active nesting months for Washington wildlife, when trees will be teaming with life. Please be aware that pruning or cutting down trees during these months can and does displace, harm or even kill a variety of wildlife species.

PAWS Wildlife Center receives hundreds of baby wild animals each year, many of which are displaced when their nest tree is cut down or their nest site is destroyed.

Before cutting down any tree, whether alive or dead, please consider the following information to prevent unnecessary loss of habitat. 

  • Plan tree-cutting projects between November and January, well after nesting season is over.
  • Inspect the tree for active nests before beginning any work.
  • Consider cutting just the bare minimum of branches, leaving the nest section alone.
  • Standing dead trees (snags) are great wildlife habitats, often housing several different species.  Please consider leaving them standing. If the tree does not present a hazard, the best course of action may be to leave it alone, as all trees provide some form of habitat for wild creatures.
  • Many wildlife species are federally protected and the law prohibits destroying and/or disturbing their nests.
  • If a nest-bearing tree absolutely must be cut down, first call the PAWS Wildlife Center at 425.412.4040 to find out what steps to take.

Having a wildlife problem? PAWS can help

 

 

Spring is nearly around the corner, and that means one thing here at PAWS—the babies are coming! April through September is considered "baby season" at the PAWS Wildlife Center, when our staff and volunteers have their hands full caring for adorable (and hungry!) baby birds, squirrels, Raccoons, chipmunks, opossums and many more.

Volunteer-feeding-baby-squirrelAccording to volunteer coordinator Frances Boyens, baby robins and sparrows are usually the first to arrive at the PAWS Wildlife Center, and baby season officially ends when the final baby raccoon is strong enough to scamper out the door. Last baby season, the PAWS team even cared for several bear cubs and baby Harbor Seals.

The first few months of life are a tenuous time for newborns in the wild, and most of these young ones come to us injured, orphaned and unable to care for themselves. A great number of babies coming through our doors are the survivors of attacks from cats and dogs, or the unfortunate victims of human interference.

PAWS staff and volunteers spend months meticulously and lovingly rehabilitating them so they can make a successful transition back to their natural habitats. It’s a busy and exciting time, and one of the best times to be a volunteer at PAWS. Volunteers work hands-on with the animals, feeding them and helping nurse them back to health.

“It’s a rewarding and life changing experience,” says one volunteer. “There’s nothing quite like feeding a tiny squirrel, and knowing you’re making the difference between life and death.”

Baby season is only a month away, and we need all the help we can get to ensure that we have the resources to care for these small, defenseless creatures.

“Our volunteers go through orientation and training, ensuring they are able to act with minimal supervision and really take ownership in their work with the animals,” says Boyens.

Help PAWS get baby-season-ready and sign up today!

 

 

Question: A Robin keeps attacking my windows. I'm afraid he will hurt himself. What can I do, and why is he doing that?

American Robins exhibit bizarre window-pecking behaviorThat's a great question! This curious behavior happens every spring. American Robins are very territorial, and once a pair has established their nest site, they will fiercely defend it.

The PAWS Wildlife Center receives many calls from people concerned about Robins attacking or pecking repetitively on their windows—we’ve even heard of Robins attacking the rear-view mirrors of vehicles.

The bizarre behavior occurs when birds see their reflection in windows or mirrors and think it’s another bird trying to take over their territory.  This activity usually continues through the nest-building, hatching and nestling stages.

The window-pecking can last several months, but don’t worry; unlike window strikes, this behavior is rarely dangerous for the birds.

There are several things you can do to deter birds from attacking windows. The main idea is to make window glass non-reflective. Sometimes the whole window needs covering, but primarily near the window sill where the bird will sit and continuously hit the glass. 

  • Cover the window on the outside with screening or netting at least two to three inches from the glass. Make it taut enough to bounce the bird off before they hit the glass.
  • Install external shutters, awnings or sun shades.
  • Apply one-way transparent film.  You can see out and the bird cannot see a reflection (CollidEscape).
  • Wipe a bar of soap on the window.
  • Cover the window with a sheet, newspaper or clear plastic.
  • Hang  Mylar tape, an eye balloon or pinwheels  in front of windows.
  • Apply decals or stickers (only effective when spaced very closely to each other)
  • String up old cd’s.
  • For new home construction, install windows so the glass angles downward and doesn’t reflect the surroundings. 

Having a wildlife problem? PAWS can help

 

 

The Golden Eagle is a fairly rare sight in Western Washington, and is a very rare patient for us to have in care. Although we are occasionally contacted by members of the public who believe they have found an injured Golden Eagle, most turn out to be juvenile Bald Eagles.

The two species can be confusing to the untrained eye, especially when viewed individually, or at a distance. Placing the two side by side makes identifying them a bit easier. Below you can see a juvenile Bald Eagle on the left, and an adult Golden Eagle on the right. Note the slightly smaller beak on the Golden Eagle as well as the lighter, golden feathers on the back of the head and nape of the neck.

Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle

Continue reading "Which Eagle Is It?" »

 

February 7 started off as a good day for this Golden Eagle. She spent the morning feasting on an all-you-can-eat buffet of elk meat from a carcass she had found, and she was about to fly off to find a comfortable perch on which she could sit and digest her meal. Unfortunately, she never made it there.

As the eagle took flight, she passed over the same strip of pavement on which the elk had met his end. Possibly weighed down by a full stomach, the eagle nearly became roadkill herself—she was struck by a truck and instantly grounded. She was retrieved from the roadside by a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife enforcement officer who delivered her to PAWS the next day.

Golden Eagle 140078

Continue reading "A Good Day Turns Bad for a Golden Eagle" »

 

2013 was a successful (and busy!) year at PAWS. As we prepare to usher in 2014, we'd like to share with you a few memorable moments and milestones from the past year:

  • Make a year-end gift to PAWS!Our shelter has placed more than 1,775 animals in their forever homes so far this year—and adoptions are still taking place!
  • In 2013, PAWS veterinarians performed their first-ever Pneumothorax surgery on a 4-pound infant American Black Bear to repair her collapsed lung. More than a year later, on June 5, 2013, this once-frail cub was released back to her home in the Umpqua National Forest in Oregon!
  • This year, the PAWS Foster Care program continued to grow at a staggering pace, providing temporary homes for 1,950 dogs and cats.
  • PAWS Cat City celebrated a record-breaking year with more than 1,260 adoptions!
  • We cared for several Western Pond Turtles, a species that has been listed as endangered since 1993, was a particular surprise! In 2013, we rehabilitated and released a large variety of wildlife, including this young Harbor Seal (pictured above) who came to PAWS dehydrated, emaciated, and extremely weak. Months later he was returned to the wild, a healthy and vibrant creature.

Over the past year—with your help—we have transformed the lives of more than 6,700 injured, orphaned and abandoned animals. Together, we provided much-needed shelter, care and love for the cats, dogs and wildlife who arrived at our door, in need of a second chance.

Please help us continue our life-saving work by making a year-end tax-deductible donation for the animals at PAWS by midnight on December 31.

Thank you for your continued support in 2014!

 

 

You may know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the two unofficial "holidays" between Thanksgiving and Christmas devoted to shopping for gifts and finding the greatest deals. But now there's a new holiday, designed with a more philanthropic goal in mind: #GivingTuesday.

Give Back on #GivingTuesday 2013Tuesday, December 3, 2013 marks the second annual #GivingTuesday, a day to kick off the holiday giving season in a different way.

#GivingTuesday is a nation-wide day of charitable giving, and a chance for you to make a gift that will save animals' lives.


This Giving Tuesday, join PAWS to help save the lives of injured and orphaned cats, dogs and wildlife. With your kindness and support, we’ll continue to make a positive impact on the homeless animals in our community.

Support PAWS with a #GivingTuesday gift!

 

 

We work with an impressively diverse array of wild animals here at PAWS. Since we began taking wildlife in 1981 we have received more than 260 different species, but a number alone does not paint a clear picture of this amazing variety of wild patients. With the goal of giving you a better understanding of the diversity of wildlife with which we work, I have compiled 23 photos of patients that were in care at PAWS in 2013.

As you look at the photos, I invite you to think about the knowledge that is needed to provide medical and rehabilitative care to each one. For each animal we receive we must know how to properly identify the species, how to recognize and treat injuries and illnesses, what kind of food they eat and how to deliver it, how to safely handle and house them, how to know when they are ready for release, and much, much more. And these 23 photos represent less than 10% of the total number of species with which we have worked!

Providing care for such a varied group of species can be a daunting prospect, but thanks to your support the PAWS Wildlife Center is up to the task!

1. Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Continue reading "23 Examples of Diversity at PAWS Wildlife Center" »

 

On November 9, a Northern Saw-whet Owl was having a very bad day. She was lying on the pavement in the middle of a Seattle street, and she was surrounded by crows that were not happy to see her in their territory. A passerby noticed her predicament and intervened, but not before the owl had lost a few feathers and suffered a minor injury to one eye.

Northern Saw-whet

Continue reading "An Owl's Bad Day Gets Better" »